Ray Comfort Says We’re in the End Times®

Meteor destroys London

We dodged an apocalyptic bullet a few days ago. The number of years of Jesus’ life and the number of times the Bible mentions “Elohim” (the other name for God) are both 33. Count 33 days from the date of the solar eclipse, and you get September 23! There you go—end of the world.

You want a second opinion? No problem: the eclipse was on the 21st of August, hurricane Harvey began on the 25th, and flooding started on the 26th. Use those numbers to point to Luke 21:25–26:

There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

How much more evidence do you want that the End will come last week? You just can’t argue with science—though you can certainly argue with numerology, wishful thinking, and whatever other nonsense is behind this argument.

Time to bring in an expert

End times prediction is strangely attractive to some apologists (I’ve written more here and here). It’s a shiny thing to a baby. Ray Comfort has made a movie about our own imminent end (“Noah and the Last Days”), and it has that je ne sais quoi that only Ray can provide. Or maybe it’s WTF.

Ray gives ten New Testament passages that make clear that we’re in the end times. “The end of the age is happening now,” he says. Let’s take a look to see if we can see it as clearly as Ray can.

He begins with 2 Peter 2:1–3:

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

Yes, there are lots of false prophets in our time—Hal Lindsey vaguely predicted the end in 2000, Harold Camping in 2011, Ronald Weinland in 2013, John Hagee in 2015, and there have been others. But don’t imagine that naively idiotic prophecies are a recent thing. There’s the Great Disappointment of 1844. And the many failed predictions by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is no sign of the end. These Christian doomsday prophets have always been with us.

And now Ray Comfort is yet another prophet. Give us a specific date, Ray, so we know when to add you to the false prophets list. But be careful: the passage you just gave us says that God will judge these liars like he judged the wicked people he drowned in the Flood.

On to Ray’s next verse of what to look for in the end times:

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7)

Yes, there are wars, but no more now than in the past. The incidence of famine and pestilence is far less today (no thanks to Christianity), and science is helping predict earthquakes and make cities more resilient. This argues against Ray’s claim. And the movie itself was shot in tourist areas of Southern California, with beautiful blue sky and palm trees (not desolation and death), a poor location to make the claim that social conditions are going downhill.

Next up:

The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. (Acts 2:20)

Consider the context of this verse. The disciples were gathered for the feast of Pentecost, shortly after Jesus had returned to heaven, and the Holy Spirit descended on them. They all spoke in tongues, and passersby marveled that each could hear God praised in their own language. In this verse from Acts, Peter is explaining that this was a fulfillment of a prophecy from Joel.

Now consider the entire quotation (2:17–21). Joel was listing what will happen in the last days, and Peter said that this visitation of the Holy Spirit indicated that Joel’s clues to the end were happening at that moment. Yes, the sun will turn to darkness and the moon to blood, but it will happen in the time of Peter and the apostles.

Another fail, Ray. You’ve really got to read these things more carefully.

There will be terrible times in the last days. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers . . . (2 Timothy 3:1–2)

Ray’s focus here is naughty words used in movies. I’ll grant that there are more R-rated movies now than centuries ago, but this seems a tiny point to put in a Top Ten list. And he’s concerned about f-bombs in movies but not concerned about the insane violence in Passion of the Christ? I’d rather have a society comfortable with rude words than violence.

It was the same in the days of Lot. . . . But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:28–30)

Ray interprets this as an increase in the acceptance of (shudder!) homosexuality.

You know you live in strange times when the atheist has to explain to the Christian what Bible passages mean. No, Ray, that’s not what we’re talking about here. The point is suddenness. The wicked people during Noah’s time were going about life as usual and were caught unawares by the Flood. The people in Sodom were surprised by the hail of destruction. The section continues with admonitions against going back to your house for your stuff when the end comes—just run for safety.

Yes, we’re more accepting of homosexuality. No, that’s not what this passage is about. In fact, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 isn’t even about homosexuality (more).

Finish up Ray Comfort’s Kant-Fail® Signs of the End in part 2.

If you’re a “Bible prophecy scholar,”
then everything is a sign of the End Times—
eclipses, earthquakes, floods, droughts, Wednesdays, dandelions,
war in the Middle East, peace in the Middle East,
Middle Eastern restaurants in the Midwest. . . .
slactivist

 (This is an update of a post that originally appeared 4/14/14.)

Image credit: Ben Sutherland, flickr, CC

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  • Nos482

    For men will be lovers of themselves

    Well, excuse me… someone’s got to do it.

  • Loren Petrich

    There will be terrible times in the last days. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers . . . (2 Timothy 3:1–2)

    All but one of these fits our current President VERY well. He loves himself, he loves money, and he is boastful and proud.

    So why haven’t all these End-Times recognizers considered that to be evidence?

    • Wookie Monster

      Because he will give them the fifth SCOTUS seat they’ve been hoping for.

      • TheNuszAbides

        eyes on Gorsuch, sure, but there’s a difference between the plausible and thoroughly borne-out expectation that Trump was toxically unfit for office from the get-go and the not-so-borne-out expectation that everyone he appoints is his functional minion (or, specifically, as transparent an ideologue-apologist as Scalia).

    • Sashineb

      They don’t care about that. They want people to believe that God put Trump in power. Jim Bakker goes overboard trying to defend Trump, and all he really cares about is getting people to believe they need his $2,500 buckets of slop for “end times”.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Trump just shows that God can achieve his Plan® (patent pending) with anyone.

      One wonders then why he didn’t achieve it with Hillary.

      • TheNuszAbides

        hey, all those miracles of the past century+ w/r/t women’s rights already came perilously close to violating our special pleadingFree Will – don’t get greedy!

    • TheNuszAbides

      to honor the tradition of gratuitous pattern-seeking and embellishment illuminated in the OP, we can complete the series by considering him a blasphemer of all principles of honest dealing.

  • Greg G.

    Next time: We’ll finish up Ray Comfort’s Kant-Fail® Signs of the End.

    Provided Ray wasn’t right this time. Just because Ray didn’t understand that bananas are the product of agriculture and not a miracle, doesn’t mean he won’t stumble over a blind squirrel’s nut someday.

    • RichardSRussell

      I heard Ray Comfort’s proof of God’s existence, namely that bananas were perfectly adapted to the human hand, but when I went to check it out, it turned out that half of them were curved backwards. What a fraud!

      • epeeist

        And you’ll notice he never talks about pineapples…

        Oh, and where are bananas mentioned in the wholly babble anyway?

        • Michael Neville

          Bananas were designed to fit in the human anus. Have you ever tried to do that with a pineapple?

        • Greg G.

          Have you ever tried to carry a large durian without protection?

        • Michael Neville

          Would carrying a durian up your bum count as protection?

        • Greg G.

          It would be more protective than a pineapple.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “and then the conversation turned …”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Or coconuts.

        • Guy Fawkes

          And no mention anywhere of Artichokes.

        • TheNuszAbides

          first draft of Genesis included Adam’s Complete List of All Da Aminalz (plants? don’t be silly, what’s so important about plants?), but one of the editors thought people would find it even more boring than the begats. and c’mon, what’s more important here – identifying key elements in our Manifest Destiny, or pretending there’s something special about an ~unbroken lineage~?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Can you say, “The Fall”?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Only on a banana peel…..or sumpin’

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      I’ve always wondered, if grip-sized bananas are evidence of design, why is masturbstion a sin?

      • Greg G.

        If masturbation is a sin, why can we do that but not tickle ourselves?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Outstanding point, I never thought of it that way.

  • Michael Neville

    the eclipse was on the 21st of August, hurricane Harvey began on the 25th, and flooding started on the 26th. Use those numbers to point to Luke 21:25–26:

    Let’s look if the verses from Luke are supported by the same chapter and verses in other books of the Bible (all NIV). Here’s Matthew 21:25-26:

    25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”

    John 21:25 (there is no verse 26) doesn’t seem to be about end times:

    25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

    That slacker Mark only wrote 16 chapters in his book.

    Acts 21:25-26 doesn’t talk about end times:

    25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” 26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.

    Genesis 21:25-26 doesn’t help either:

    25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelek about a well of water that Abimelek’s servants had seized. 26 But Abimelek said, “I don’t know who has done this. You did not tell me, and I heard about it only today.”

    Exodus 21:25-26 is a continuation of one of the more famous bits from the Bible, so I’ve included verse 24 as well:

    24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. 26 “An owner who hits a male or female slave in the eye and destroys it must let the slave go free to compensate for the eye.

    Numbers 21:25-26 is a bit of bragging:

    25 Israel captured all the cities of the Amorites and occupied them, including Heshbon and all its surrounding settlements. 26 Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and had taken from him all his land as far as the Arnon.

    I looked at all the other Biblical chapters 21 verses 25-26 and by no stretch of even Ray Comfort’s imagination do they talk about end times. It appears that Bananaman’s numerology isn’t supported by the rest of the Bible.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Well, duh. You used the wrong books. Of course you got gibberish answers. You need discernment, and Ray’s got it.

      • Michael Neville

        Silly me. Thanks for pointing out my erroneous errors.

  • kaydenpat

    How come Ray Comfort and other Christianists never talk about James 5: 1-4?

    1Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

    2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

    3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

    4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      That’s a keeper.

  • Paul D.

    Thought game.

    Imagine the Bible really did contain prophecies about the end of the world, but getting the correct answer required you to interpret each detail absolutely perfectly. Like a math problem, even a single error can completely change the outcome and give you the wrong answer.

    What would you do to interpret the Bible in such a case? You would be really damn careful you knew exactly what each passage said. You would scour modern scholarship on each verse to make sure you understood all its nuances and implications.

    But what does Comfort do? He plays fast and loose with the Bible, misinterpreting (almost certainly on purpose) texts in a variety of way so he can sculpt the conclusion to be what he wants. This is not how you act if you really believe in prophecy. This is how you act if you’re just a con-man trying to convince people to give you money. Comfort doesn’t believe his own claims any more than you do.

    • grasshopper

      … even a single error can completely change the outcome and give you the wrong answer.

      The old “garbage in, garbage out” trick, Chief.

    • Tommy

      Ray Comfort: Former consumer of Snake Oil, now a salesman of it.

      • Dannorth

        Religion IS a multilevel marketing scheme.

      • TheNuszAbides

        i’ll just assume it did wonders for his coiffure, not interested in the pictures kthx

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      He plays fast and loose with the Bible, misinterpreting (almost certainly on purpose) texts in a variety of way so he can sculpt the conclusion to be what he wants.

      Ah, but in so doing, Comfort has won more souls for the Kingdom! Or something.

      • TheNuszAbides

        the ends justify – oops!

    • Kevin K

      Comfort is a low-level grifter like all the other low-level grifters on TV. End Times™ predictions are the meat-and-potatoes for these con people. Literally. Without ginning up fear and trepidation, there’s no meat on Comfort’s table.

    • TheNuszAbides

      You would scour modern scholarship on each verse

      when one has already assumed that the content is legitimately prophetic, what can possibly make one so sure that scholarship taking place so far from The Garden (and after Decian and other persecutions, sectarian schism etc. which can be conveniently assumed to have destroyed crucial clues for textual analysis) is the most helpful?

      He plays fast and loose … This is how you act if you’re just a con-man … Comfort doesn’t believe his own claims any more than you do.

      agreed. but he could be excruciatingly ‘exact’ with his exegesis and hermeneutics (punting to metaphor is a bottomless hobbyresource for scripture-based specialwishfulpleadingthinking anyway) and i still wouldn’t think he believes them.

  • bbeck

    So what constitutes the end of times. Is it just plain old dying at a certain time slot, a day,…? With a range of between 140,000 to 165,000 dying each day, that’s per day, all ages, it seems to me that prior to 21:48 on 9/30/17, right now, the end of the world has happened to 155,000 this day. Since 9/23 approximately 1,085,000 have left this world and the rest of us are still here. But tomorrow, probably the same, another 155,000 will leave us. Now, that being said more are being born than dying obviously. So we’re still bring new life into the world that also will die, some before their second breath.

    I can see what’s-his-name in heaven now trying to end the world – “Okay….right…now, no wait a minute, ok now. No. Right about here, now…..no wait. bad timing.,,,now!! Hold it, maybe it’s………………………..now!! NOW!!! Wait…..

    • SparklingMoon,

      The end time ( described in holy scriptures) already started in the middle of eighteenth century . The present human race originated from Adam, our common ancestor who came after the previous ‘races’, and this human race has an age of seven thousand years, and that these seven thousand years are to God just as seven days are to man. It has been decreed by the Divine law that every ‘race’ has a life span of seven thousand years, and it is to highlight this fact that the seven days have been ordained for man. By now six thousand years of this era have gone and a thousand years remain. (Ruhanikhazain)

  • RichardSRussell

    And he’s concerned about f-bombs in movies but not concerned about the insane violence in Passion of the Christ?

    If you watch pretty much any movie Mel Gibson’s ever been involved with, some character (usually his) is always being tortured for something. It’s kind of Mel’s own personal fetish.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Kinky is OK if it’s in service of the Lord.

      • Michael Neville

        Is it like Lying for Jesus is almost a sacrament?

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      “The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre”, I’ve heard it called.

  • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

    When have there not been “wars and rumors of wars”? That was even more true when the text was written, as you note.

    • Treyarnon

      Indeed, and one interpretation of these apocalyptic passages is exactly that. That history and natural events will continue as they always have and that there are no special signs of the coming apocalypse.

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Yet they have verses such as this foretelling signs. On the other hand, there is the “No one man knows the hour” warning too, though it never stopped them foretelling a date. Good thing society doesn’t follow the “death for false prophets” prescription anymore.

        • Treyarnon

          Yes, it’s a relief nobody is targeted for getting these things wrong. On the other hand it might be a good thing to call a few of them were called to account as they so often seem to glide serenely on taking submission and money from their followers despite getting it wrong, again!

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Well, they should definitely be called on it. Sadly it doesn’t seem to affect the followers.

  • BeaverTales

    Why do Christian pastors do this to their flocks? When their sheep start to stray, then the shepherd has to instill fear of circling wolves upon them. The cries of pending apocalypse have been going on for hundreds thousands of years.

    I suspect the doomsday rhetoric of scamvangelists varies inversely with their bank account balances. There’s no way to verify this hypothesis of course, because none of them file tax returns…

    Because I believe in math, I do believe a different type of apocalypse will happen: http://www.newsweek.com/meade-prophecy-failed-next-mass-extinction-coming-2100-says-mit-professor-669892

  • Michael Neville

    Off Topic: I’ll be on vacation for the next week so you have a reprieve from my animosity, arrogance and pomposity. I’m sure others (I name no names) will take up the slack.

    • Kevin K

      (raises hand) … I got your back, Jack.

    • Greg G.

      Thank God the world didn’t end before your vacation started. I hate it when that happens.

      Anybody heard from Suzanne lately?

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Wasn’t god nice to change his mind and let you have a vacation after all. I prayed especially for your vacation and god answered my prayer. You can believe this is true because some guy on the internet is telling you it is.

      • TheNuszAbides

        shibboleth! ta-daaaa!

  • Kevin K

    John Hagee wrote an entire book about how the “blood moons” were issuing in the End Times™. I think that happened … last year sometime?

  • MindWarrior

    Wow. Snake oil salesmen had better pitches than Comfort….

    • TheNuszAbides

      we like to think that our bullshit detectors improve over time at the species level … but it’s hard to credit when echo-chamber communities like Comfort’s target market insulate themselves from curiosity, scientific discovery etc.

    • Greg G.

      Yeah but Comfort has crocoduck oil.

  • Tony D’Arcy

    Seeing the Bible got the beginning of the universe, Earth, and life wrong, is there any reason to waste time with “free enterprise” Christian con men and their stupid predictions about end times ? We know our sun will last for another few billion years before it turns into a red giant, fries the Earth and beyond, but the rest of the universe will carry on as normal. Too bad all Cameron’s earthly riches will be vapourised along with Fort Knox and the Bank of England, if they happen to be still around in 3-4 billion years !

  • Dom Saunders

    Sure, we’re in the end times. And Republicans, bigoted religious people, and intellectually declined and science-denying morons are doing their damndest to make sure it comes as soon as possible. I’m almost certain these people have a secret death wish and just want us all to die.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9366434c51e6700033c7ef7b78efa29b8d597ddf82e2af7c45b943ebefb7a5ff.gif

    • TheNuszAbides

      i despair for all those who think we’d be better off with an indiscriminate massacre/plague or two, because it gets harder and harder to dispute.

    • SparklingMoon,

      The word ‘End Time’ in religious books or in prophecies of different prophets, does not mean the end of human beings on earth or the end of earth in this universe. This term of ‘ End Time’ is used for last thousand years of seven thousand years. It is explained by the Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in his writings that Human civilization and dispensation have a cyclic life. The progeny of Adam also has a life cycle of seven thousand years. Only God knows how many Adams have passed away and how many have yet to come. From all this we may infer that this is the last age and the final era of the world, at the turn of which the Promised Messiah was destined to appear according to the Divine scriptures.

      He explains further that as God has created seven days and likened each day to a thousand years, this metaphor shows, on the authority of the clear statement of the Holy Quran, that the age of the world is seven thousand years. Another sign of the time of the Promised Messiah recorded in the Holy Quran is (Al-Hajj, 22:48): ”A day in the sight of God is like a thousand years according to your reckoning.” Since the days are seven, we infer from this verse that this world is also meant to last seven thousand years, counting from the particular Adam whose descendants we are.

  • Treyarnon

    We always have been. Any cursory reading of history shows Christians have seen the “signs of the times” during every time of crisis for the past 2,000 years.

    • Greg G.

      Indeed, and we can see it in the OT prophets, too.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      They keep being proven wrong, and yet Christians keep coming back to the trough. Human nature is amazing. And discouraging.

      • Treyarnon

        Agreed. I’ve had a spate of reading English history (I live in Kent England) and it seems it’s been a consistent way of making sense of human helplessness in the face of rapid change or natural catastrophe. There were major upsurges of apocalyptic thinking during the post Roman period accompanying the Germanic immigrations, during the Viking wars, at the turn of the first millennium, during the Black Death and during the civil wars of the 17th century etc, interspersed with quieter periods. Maybe the point was less the expectation of Christ’s literal coming and more that turbulence and suffering made some kind of sense. Who knows.
        Whatever the cause was they certainly managed to forget that nothing materialized pretty darned quick and moved on without drawing the obvious conclusions!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Good points. I’d imagine that the mayhem caused by the Hundred Year’s War also caused some apocalyptic thinking. And the Christian-driven 30 Years War (which killed 2% of the entire world’s population).